There may have been those times when you would have wanted to wear your favorite footwear but could not wear due to cracked heels.
Cracked heels are a common foot problem. One survey found that 20 percent of adults in the United States experience cracked skin on their feet. This can occur in both adults and children, and seems to affect women more often than men.
For most people, having cracked heels isn’t serious. It may cause discomfort when going barefoot. In some cases, cracks in the heels can become very deep and cause pain. Read on to learn about the best home remedies for treating and preventing cracked heels.
Cracked heels create a feeling of discomfort and are one of the most common foot problems. Almost every individual, especially women, might have suffered from this problem.
“ Cracked heels is also known as heel fissures, cracked heels are a sign of lack of care given to feet and it occurs when the skin on our feet becomes dry and as there is not enough oil secretion on the soles of our feet.”
The skin loses elasticity due to a lack of moisture. Cracked heels also develop yellow or brown color around the edge of the heels.
So, we should give our feet proper care and nourishment as if the problem intensifies, it may lead to bacterial and fungal disorders.
Cracked heels occur when dry, thick skin on the heels of the feet crack or split.
When the cracked heels only affect the outer layer of the skin, you may not notice any pain, though the cracks may be uncomfortable and catch on your socks.
Other times, it isn’t just the dry skin that cracks, but also the healthy skin beneath.
This is painful, causes bleeding, and makes you vulnerable to infection if the cracks aren’t cared for.
Causes of cracked heel
Cracked heels may be a source of discomfort as they may cause pain and often lead to bleeding.
When the skin around the heel becomes dry, it loses its suppleness and elasticity and often begins to split.
“ Cracks typically occur in conjunction with calluses, which are a build-up of dead skin”
Thick calluses can produce deep and painful cracks, and is often the result of excessive force and pressure through the heels.
The primary cause of cracked heels is dehydrated skin. The heels start producing thick areas of hard skin, once the moisture is lost. As a result that, the skin keeps restricting itself from healing sufficiently.
In initial phase, cracked skin may only feel like a minor skin issue, but if not taken seriously, it becomes painful.
In more advanced stages cracked heels can feel itchy, painful and also begin to bleed from pressure of body weight.
These are some of the potential causes of cracked heels. If you identify that any of the causes are affecting you in any way, you need to analyze your routine.
You should also change your current habits. Here are some of the most common causes that can lead to cracked heels;-
Lack of moisture:- The most common reason for cracked heels.
The skin underneath your feet is often dry, chapped, and round and chapped. This is mainly because the skin around your heels has a low level of sweat glands. Body Fat holds and supports the skin, making it soft and preventing it from drying down.
Cracked skin appears more quickly if the nature of your skin is particularly dry, due to less elasticity.
Lack of nutrients:- Lack of zinc, vitamins, and minerals in your diet can affect your heel health.
Pressure:- Walking long distances or standing for long hours at work or home can lead the pressure on feet, resultant cracking of the heels.
Obesity:- Your body weight potentially impacts the pressure on the fat pad under the heel.
The higher the weight, the more the pressure.
This can lead to cracked heels as pressure will cause the fat to expand sideways and the skin lacks flexibility.
Exposing footwear:- It is important to take care of your feet regularly, especially while wearing exposing footwear. Open-back footwear makes way for fat under the heel to expand sideways, and this eventually increases the chances of cracks on your heels.
Hygiene:- Unhygienic conditions or circumstances can be a further cause. Be sure to wash and dry your feet thoroughly. Never be barefoot in any season.
Be caution, especially in rainy season because in rainy season because muddy water can be reason of bacterial growth in the feet and can cause severe heel fissures.
Water:- Standing for long hours in damp areas, such as washrooms can cause cracked heels, because water is responsible of taking away the natural oils from the skin and can leave the skin dry and rough.
Genetics:- Naturally dry or thick dry skin (callus) around the heel can be a genetic cause of cracked heels.
Symptoms of cracked heel
In addition to having cracked heels, you may experience;-
• One of the biggest symptoms of cracked heels is the formation of callus, which is dry and forms hard skin around the heels.
• Callus may be brown or yellow in color and may often lead to discoloration of skin.
• Flaky skin
• Pain, sometimes severe pain can be occur
• Bleeding from the cracked heel
• Inflammation in the heel
In severe cases, you may develop complications with a cracked heel, especially if it’s caused by a medical condition. Complications can include;-
• A Loss of feeling in your heel (numbness)
• Cellulitis (inflammation in the cells of the feet)
• a severe infection in the cracked area
• Diabetic foot ulcer
- Symptoms of infection include pain, warmth, redness and swelling.
Tips to get rid of cracked heel
Your feet are probably the most neglected part of your body.
While we do pay a good deal of attention to our skin or facial blemishes, cracks in the feet and skin problems are often ignored.
And yet, your feet need some special care, especially because they are directly exposed to dirt and are drier due to the lack of oil glands in the feet.
Your footwear matters. If you’re prone to cracked heels, try to find shoes that fit properly and support your heels.
Whenever possible, wear shoes with a sturdy, wide heel that supports and cushions your heels.
Here are some simple tips to get smooth feet;-
- When you notice callus building up on your heels, see your podiatrist to have the heel callus safely removed.
- Moisturized your feet daily, avoiding the areas between the toes. This is usually a urea-based cream that will help keep the skin soft and supple.
- Select appropriate footwear that won’t encourage callus or dry skin development.
- Avoid the prolonged use of thongs or bare feet, and wear sandals with enclosed heels whenever possible
- Wear stockings or socks when possible
- Ensure adequate water intake and essential fatty acids within your diet (e.g. Omega 3 fatty acids) that may assist in preventing dryness and cracking by helping to keep the skin hydrated and more supple
- Regular exercise can help improve circulation to help heal the cracks and discourage them from recurring .
- Soaking your feet in warm water that is mixed with honey can moisturise your feet as well as help to peel off the dead skin.
- The area between your toes is prone to dampness which can cause fungal infections. Ensure that the area remains dry. Massage oil and turmeric in the area to reduce pain from the cracks.
Home remedies for cracked heel
Tired of cracked and painful heels? Even though we care about our face, hands and nails regularly, somehow our feet are often most neglected by us. Wearing slippers or feet-exposing footwear also leaves them prone to get dry and cracked.
Here are a few remedies involving home ingredients, which will solve your problem of cracked heels;-
- Deep condition with milk and rose:- For those with cracked and painful heels, this remedy will work like magic.
Ways to use deep condition with milk and rose:- Just take a small tub of warm water and add half a cup of milk to it. Add a handful of rose petals and 4-5 neem leaves.
Mix a teaspoon of seed oil or wheat germ oil into the tub.
Add a few drops of essential oil, if you have any.
• Soak your feet in for about 20 minutes and scrub them lightly.
• This procedure will not only help you in getting rid of dead skin and help you get rid of cracked heels.
- Three oil massage:- This home remedy includes three different types of oil to provide maximum benefit to your heels.
Ways to use this home remedy:- Just take one teaspoon each of castor, olive and almond oil. Mix them together and massage it all over your heels. You can apply a layer of Vaseline after that, so that the oil gets absorbed well.
• Do this procedure just before sleeping and wear socks. Overnight moisture will not only treat your cracked heels but will also make them soft.
- Banana and honey moisturizer:-
- Honey may work as a natural remedy for cracked heels. According to a 2012 review, honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Research shows that honey can help heal and cleanse wounds, and moisturize the skin.
- Banana contains Vitamin A and thus helps in maintaining skin elasticity and also helps in keeping the skin hydrated.
Ways to use Banana and honey moisturizer:- Mash a small banana in a bowl and add a teaspoon of honey in it. Whisk it well so that it comes to a liquid consistency.
Apply the paste all over your heels and gently rub it. Stay put for 20-30 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water.
Apply your moisturizer, after you pat dry your feet.
- Aloe vera:- Aloe vera contains amino acids and it also soothes dry skin. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ways to use Aloe Vera:- Apply aloe vera gel on your feet and wear socks overnight.
DOSE:- The process must be continued for four to five days for better results.
- Vaseline and lemon:- Vaseline has some moisturising properties which help us get rid of dry skin. The citric acid in lemon helps in new skin cells growth.
Ways to use Vaseline and lemon:- Rub Vaseline and lemon juice mixture on your cracked heels. Wear woolen socks as it traps the body’s heat.
• Leave it overnight and wash it off in the morning.